Prosecutor's laugh draws threat from judge

November 6, 2008 7:08:40 PM PST
An Army judge has threatened to discipline a prosecutor if he laughs again during the trial of a New York soldier charged with killing two superior officers in Iraq. The Fayetteville Observer reported that Lt. Col. Bradley Huestis laughed after defense attorney Maj. John Gregory asked to mark a document as evidence. Gregory is representing 41-year-old Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of premeditated murder.

Gregory complained about the laugh, and judge Col. Stephen Henley told Huestis he would be sanctioned if it happened again. In other testimony, Staff Sgt. Daniel Tobin, office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Joint Forces Headquarters said he heard Martinez make derogatory comments about the commander, often times in the presence of other soldiers.

Tobin told prosecutors that a comment made by Martinez that stood out in his mind was if a mortar round happened to drop in, he would not cry about it. According to Tobin, that was the first time he had heard a comment like that from Martinez.

Prosecutors asked if Tobin took corrective measures when Martinez made such comments, and Tobin replied `No.'

Maj. Marc Cipriano from the defense team asked Tobin if the comments Martinez made were one-on-one with him and he said `no.' He said the comments were made around other soldiers. Cipriano asked Tobin if he ever said anything to Martinez about making the derogatory remarks and Tobin said that to the best of his knowledge he did not.

Eleven witnesses testified during Thursday's session of the court-martial, which is being held at Fort Bragg.

Martinez is a New York Army National Guard soldier accused of detonating an anti-personnel mine that killed 30-year-old Capt. Phillip Esposito and 34-year-old 1st Lt. Louis E. Allen.


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